Mariano Ruben Puerta
(born September 19, 1978 in San Francisco, Córdoba
) is an Argentine
professional male tennis player best known for making the final of the French Open in 2005, where he lost to Rafael Nadal
in four sets.
Puerta made his debut on the ATP Tour
in 1996. He won his first ATP title in 1998 in Palermo
, Italy. In 2000, Puerta achieved his highest year end ranking of World No. 21, making it to five finals, and winning one of them (Bogotá
). That same year, however, he underwent wrist surgery, which kept him off the circuit for several months.
Besides not recovering his previous playing level, he was suspending from tennis for 9 months from October 2003 onwards for a doping
offense (see section on doping controversies
). Owing to the suspension he missed most of the 2004 season, and by August 2004 his world ranking had dropped to 440. He was reduced to playing Challenger-level tournaments for a while until he had earned enough points to return to the ATP Tour.
In 2005, Puerta made an eye-opening comeback on the Tour by winning the title in Casablanca and then making it to the final of the world's most prestigious clay court tournament, the French Open
, where he eventually succumbed to Rafael Nadal
in a close match (7–6(6), 3–6, 1–6, 5–7). By August 2005 he had climbed to a career-best 9th place in the ATP entry rankings, an advancement of 431 places in one year.
In December 2005, he was, again, suspended for a doping offense, this time for 8 years,... Read More